Italian surf historian declares people surfing in China thousands of years before Polynesia: “There’s some who tread on drifting wood performing hundreds of water tricks, having fun, each displaying great mastery!”

Big Trouble etc.

Three years ago, the book Cocaine + Surfing: A Love Story (buy here) was released with its extremely controversial claim that surfing was likely born in beautiful Peru. Conventional wisdom had long been that our favorite dance grew in Polynesia and spread from there. Cocaine + Surfing posited since there were no native coca on any of the islands it is very unlikely that anyone would have had the desire to slide waves without the magic plant.


Italian surf historian has just made an even more extremely controversial claim. Surfing, he says, did not begin in Polynesia nor Peru but rather China.

Nicolla “Nik” Zanella stumbled on his discovery in 2006 while visiting a Buddhist temple in Kunming in the southern Yunnan province. There he saw a 19th century bas-relief depicting a group of arhats, or those who have reached Nirvana, out amongst the waves.

One, in particular, stood out.

“The guy was standing up, his pose was exactly what we teach – back foot flat, front foot at a 45-degree angle, looking 5m in front of the board. And his face – he looked stoked,” Zanella told the South China Morning Post.

It was so captivating that he climbed down 5000 years of Chinese literature, finding Song Dynasty poet Zhou Mi’s work on the way. Zanella translates, “Hundreds of brave watermen … with unfastened hair and tattoos, holding coloured flags, race to the water … they paddle towards the oncoming waves … then they leap up and perform a hundred manoeuvres without getting the tail of their flags even slightly wet. This is how they show off their skill. Hence the nobles reward them with silver prizes.”

Very WQS.

The poem went on, “They gather in a group of a hundred, holding coloured flags, and compete in treading waves. They head straight to the river mouth to welcome the tide. Moreover, there’s some who tread on drifting wood … performing hundreds of water tricks, having fun, each displaying great mastery.”


The brave watermen with unfastened hair and tattoos were not riding ocean waves, however. They were theoretically surfing the large tidal bore in Hangzhou later made famous by Jamie O’Brien.

Extraordinarily cool though begs the question.

Is surfing’s true love story with opium not cocaine?

Much to ponder.

San Diego senior women’s boogie board club a shining beacon of joy in sea of grouch: “I always feel better with my brain when I go Boogie Boarding!”

Priceless joy.

VALs, Wavestorms, overcrowding, one-day World Surf League finals, Erik Logan, harrumph. There is much to grouse about our current state of surfing and grouse I do, early and often, but today I stumbled upon a story that warmed my cold heart to its very core.

San Diego’s senior women’s boogie board club.

Ranging in age from late-40s to mid-90s, the old gals meet three times a week to slide and glide North County, most recently out at a reported 6 – 8 foot Fletcher Cove.

Charlotte Gumbrell, 95, told RISMedia, “I always feel better with my brain when I go Boogie Boarding. I’m sure it helps. Every year I say this is going to be my last year out there, but then I just keep going. If I can get out there, I’m always so happy I did.”

The women boogie together in a pack of 20, or so, directly in front of a lifeguard stand for safety and look out for each other, helping each other to their feet after a cruise etc.

“We call it turtling,” Solana Beach’s Ginny Van Meter said. “That’s the hardest part of it all. Your knees aren’t as good as they used to be, so standing back up takes a lot of work.”

Crista Stahl, 85, was worried about getting her boogie on in the time of Covid but her doctor assured her it was ok as long as they all stayed 6 feet apart in the lineup.

Patti Fitchen, 78, likes how boogie boarding keeps her in shape, saying, “It’s terrific for your thighs. You have to walk out against the surf in deep water and that’s no easy task. It’s exhilarating melding your body with the movement of the waves. That joy is priceless.”

Ain’t it just, though, and is your cold heart warm now too?


Buy: Mad Max’s iconic oceanfront hideout near Bells Beach for $11 million!

"The property offers the extremely rare combination of beautiful views, immediate access to the beach and total privacy."

A beachfront shack that featured as Mad Max’s hideout in the post-apocalyptic 1979 Australian New Wave film is on the market for eleven million Australian dollars.

The little wooden shack at 310 Great Ocean Road, Fairhaven, Victoria, is where Mel Gibson’s Max Rockatansky lives with his wife Jesse and kid Sprog before a moto-gang kills the wife and kid and Max becomes Mad, hence title of film and so on.

The little Mad Max shack in 1979.

The joint has been lightly renovated since the shooting of the film, the single storey circa 1960s construction turned into a five-bedroom, six-shitter beach chic masterpiece squatting on over 30,000 square feet of sand dune surrounded by unoccupied crown land on both sides.

A light reno, new paint etc.
A masterpiece of beach chic.

As the real estate agent explains,

The property offers the extremely rare combination of beautiful views, immediate access to the beach and total privacy.

Generous open plan living with floor to ceiling glazing and outdoor entertaining provides the ultimate theatre to experience the unfolding drama of nature and all her seasons. Understated opulence imbues the entire home with a soothing quality and a subtle timeless sophistication. This quality is especially evident in the master suite with its ocean outlook, private balcony, dressing room and en-suite. Each of the three additional bedrooms has an en-suite, while a four-bed bunk room utilises a fifth bathroom. There are six bathrooms and a powder room in total.

There’s enough parking for a ’74 Ford Falcon XB GT “Pursuit Special”, a ’72 HQ Monaro coupe, a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan and a Mazda Bongo.

Mel Gibson was twenty-three and cute as a button when he shot the film but is a now a grinchy ol sixty five-year old.

Sign into YouTube for this lil treat.


Once-beloved children’s author, Billabong collaborator, Dr. Seuss officially cancelled: “(These books) portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Blame La Jolla.

In a major relief to parents around the world, Dr. Seuss has officially been cancelled. National Public Radio announced the move minutes ago, reporting:

Dr. Seuss Enterprises will cease publishing six of the author’s books — including And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street and If I Ran the Zoo — saying they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.” The books have been criticized for how they depict Asian and Black people.

The decision to stop publishing and licensing the books follows a review by a panel of educators and other experts, according to Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that controls the author’s books and characters. The other four titles that will be permanently shelved are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer.

The company says the decision was made last year, in an effort to support “all children and families with messages of hope, inspiration, inclusion, and friendship.”

“Dr.” Seuss, born Theodor Seuss Geisel, born in 1904 and culturally appropriating his honorary title while at college, began his career in advertising before shifting to children’t books after World War II.

He lived in La Jolla, very near Windansea, and likely took bad inspiration from the unrepentant jerks who regularly surf it to this day.

Months ago, surf brand Billabong announced a collaboration with Dr. Seuss Enterprises in order to celebrate now-tainted Earth Day.

The collection was released in five separate installments, celebrating five different Seuss books and messages with a press release reading:

The relationship between Dr. Seuss and boardsports culture is a long and storied one. Ever since the early 1990s, the treasured author’s artwork has been featured on skateboard graphics and t-shirts. Taking things to the next level, the Billabong x Dr. Seuss collaboration marks the first full-fledged apparel release with a boardsports brand. For maximum impact, the collection will be endorsed by members of Billabong’s elite surf athlete team such as Jack Freestone, Ryan Callinan, and Seth Moniz in promotional content advocating ocean conservancy, among other themes.

It must be assumed that Billabong is busily recalling the clothing, burning it all, firing Jack Freestone, Ryan Callinan and Seth Moniz, etc.

Parents are encouraged to call the authorities if they see any of their children’s friends wearing Dr. Seuss or reading him.

In stunning post, The New York Times recognizes VAL-mageddon, blames social media: “What used to be a relatively niche hobby is now in full view, compounding interest!”

It's a beautiful life.

In a move that has shocked grumpy locals around the world, but especially Canada, The New York Times has gone on record, for the first time, in recognizing that Vulnerable Adult Learners are now in the majority and points a grey lady finger at social media.

This cultural appropriation by well-meaning adults looking to add a little spark into manicured lives that has been underway since The Inertia flicked on its Venice-adjacent lights, but gone full bore in Covid-era, has been generally smirked at by the powers that be or outright dismissed as “white girl problems.”

The Times, pivoting slightly but importantly, acknowledges that the overwhelming influx has likely changed the overall experience, especially for Canadians.

With two of his friends in wet suits and jackets, carrying their surfboards, walking down a forest path in a heavy snowstorm, the photographer Ryan Carter couldn’t help thinking that he was witnessing a quintessentially Canadian experience.

“The Great Lakes are becoming wintertime hot spots for the ocean-starved surfers who live in the area,” @ryancarter_photography writes for @nytimestravel. “Desperate for waves, devotees are often glued to local surf chat groups and obsessive about wind and wave forecasts.”

“Surfing on the Great Lakes is nothing new; people have been doing it for many decades,” Carter says. “But what used to be a relatively niche hobby along secluded shorelines is now in full view on social media, where interest in the sport is compounding.”

“But what used to be a relatively niche hobby along secluded shorelines is now in full view on social media, where interest in the sport is compounding.”

It must be assumed that the compounded interest is viewed as a good thing, for now that the final battle of VAL-mageddon has been waged and won by 42-year-old soft-toppers, smiles plastered on faces, going right on lefts, the VAL utopia can officially begin.

It’s a beautiful life.